Aphasia is an acquired communication disorder in which there is loss or impairment of the ability to use or comprehend words. It affects different aspects of language including speaking, listening, writing, and/or reading. It does not affect intelligence.
Aphasia is one of the most common conditions caused by brain injury (including stroke and aneurysm). More than two million people in the U.S. are currently affected by aphasia according to the National Aphasia Association, but few outside the clinical world know what it is. In fact, given its prevalence, most of us have encountered someone with aphasia but just don’t know it by name.
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Anything that damages the language centers of the brain can cause aphasia, including:
Nearly 180,000 Americans acquire aphasia each year, usually after stroke or other brain injury. Aphasia affects people of all ages, races, nationalities and genders. More than 800,000 people/year have a stroke in the United States, and an estimated 1.7 million experience brain injury, both of which are common causes of aphasia. Aphasia is more prevalent than Parkinson’s, ALS, cerebral palsy, and muscular dystrophy.
Yes! It is treatable with speech-language therapy. The goal of this kind of therapy is to:
How the aphasia treatment is carried out depends on your circumstances. For example, intensive speech therapy may be recommended for some people, involving a number of sessions given in a shorter period of time. For others, shorter and less intensive sessions may be recommended. Therapy may be in individual sessions, in groups, or at home using computer apps. Recovery from aphasia is possible!
In a special 60 Minutes report last month a doctor explained what FTD/PPA is and how it differs from patients with Alzheimer’s, or Dementia. We know that with the last two there is some memory loss and that speaking gets difficult after a while. Not so with Aphasia which is caused by a stroke or aneurysm and which is treatable. I would ask that when speaking of Aphasia we stress that there are differences between those who have it and those with PPA. There is no cure for PPA as I have read, heard, and been told, and those with it also lose their ability to speak, listen, write, and read. Not sure how or when the communication line will break down completely, but continue to muddle through it the best we can.
Thank you for your comment. We appreciate it and yes, there is a difference between PPA and other types of aphasia. We will endeavor to make this clearer going forward. Thank you.